Tuesday, 21 April 2009

GFC - party time for fat cats while workers suffer?

I’m in a kind of gobsmacked awe. The Queensland Treasurer is considering Public Service pay-cuts as the GFC noose tightens. From ABC News Online (17 April):

The state's Premier, Anna Bligh, and Treasurer, Andrew Fraser, have warned about a tough Budget in June because of the economic downturn.

The Government is believed to be considering advice from Treasury to freeze wages, abolish leave-loading and cut superannuation contributions from 12.7 per cent to nine per cent for nearly 200,000 public servants.

Oh, jolly good, you might be saying. Public servants are a pack of bludgers anyway. Wouldn’t know what a hard day’s work was! This consideration gets better by the minute though, though - read more of the news report for the best bit:

It is understood the move would affect teachers, nurses and police.

I'll say that again in case you missed it the first time:

It is understood the move would affect teachers, nurses and police.

Hmmm. So… Not the fat cat desk-jockeys and pen-pushers? Not the Public Servants who spend countless hours at meetings drinking coffee or standing around at one another’s desks moaning about how busy they are? Not the highly overpaid policymakers?

One hopes so. One (meaning ME) hopes that this is just a case of the media sensationalising a story by making it appear that the government is targetting the ones most likely to suffer from burnout; the ones who should be exempt from any pay cuts; the ones who work far longer hours in the most stressful jobs; the ones who are already grossly underpaid for the overwork they do.

As an ex-teacher I know that the success of education (public or private) depends to a large extent on the goodwill of teachers who work far longer hours than they spend on-site or are paid for; who regularly perform extra duties that aren't even mentioned in the job description, and who often fund activities for the kids out of their own underpaid pockets. Queensland teachers are apparently the lowest-paid teachers in the country as it is. Kick them a bit harder, Queensland Government! Good teachers are burning out and leaving the profession in droves - many of us end up as pen-pushing desk-jockey Public Servants!

And what about nurses - underpaid, overworked in an underfunded and overburdened health system. Cut their pay and entitlements further? Sure, kick em while they're down - they have big hearts, they can cope - why else would they continue working themselves to death? Clearly they don't care about the money - they do it all for love!

And no matter what you may think of the highway patrol officer who gave you a speeding ticket, if someone robs your house, steals your car, rapes your daughter or bashes your son, you'll be yelling for an overworked and undervalued cop at the top of your lungs, demanding that they 'fix things'.

Queensland Government, I'm in awe. Who's next on the hit list? Old age pensioners and war veterans? The disabled? The mentally ill? I can hardly wait to find out.


Pisshead Pete said...

...and now MP's are set to receive a back door pay rise. They wonder why we don't respect them!

Cheers.... Pete

Sue said...

*sobbing* effing politicians. Doesn't matter which party they are... you know, I have friends who refuse to vote (in this country of compulsory voting) because they say "doesn't matter who you vote for - you still get a bloody politician" - and I've always criticised them for that (If you don't vote, don't whine") - but I can fully understand their frustration. Aaaaaargh! Bastards!